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Workshop seeks a balance among community, economics, environment

Joanna Hartman

As the 1987 regional plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin expires, some say it’s time to re-establish priorities of the environmental, economic and social health and future of the community.

“It’s not just balancing these three sectors (environment, community and economy) – but realizing there’s a dependency in order to support each other,” said Ron Treabess, the community director with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

Community members and government leaders from the resort association, public utilities districts, business associations and others attended a workshop on Sept. 21 to discuss how to establish and measure a sustainable community in the basin.



“These are not necessarily new ideas,” said Jennifer Merchant, the Tahoe manager for Placer County. “There are reasons why they haven’t been implemented … why haven’t we gotten there?”

Measurements and monitoring



Following small-group discussion on how best to balance not only environmental protection but also social and economic needs, a master list of community concerns, priorities and measurement tools was compiled.

Issues such as employment opportunities, workforce housing, effective leadership, cultural opportunities and education were emphasized. More importantly, discussion addressed specific indicators of socio-economic balance.

Measurements such as the ratio between wage and cost of living, the number of people living within walking distance of their work, relative area of empty buildings and lots, number of businesses opening and closing, spending trends, demographic composition and transportation use were listed among possible indications of a balanced community.

Future communication

Thursday’s workshop served simply as an opportunity to discuss specific measurement tools for community sustainability.

Results from the forum will be forwarded to regulatory agencies such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, US Forest Service, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board as they formulate their new plans for the future of Tahoe, said the executive director of the resort association, Steve Teshara.

The three chambers around the Lake Tahoe Basin hosted two community workshops in effort to compile the characteristics, ideas and measurement tools of a sustainable community. The first workshop was held in Stateline on Sept. 14.


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